Played a Carvin Icon Yesterday

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    A little long...

    I took the short trip to Hollywood yesterday to hit the 5 or 6 stores on Sunset- GC, Sam Ash, Carvin, Mesa and a couple of locally owned others- to see if I "needed" anything. Played a Lakland USA JO 4 equipped with Darkstars that was pretty cool. Darkstars are interesting. To my ears they don't really create a tone, just sort of make your bass louder than it would be acoustically. That's not a jab. That's just what it sounded like to me, very transparent, woody and kind of airy and "hollow" sounding. Pretty cool.

    Anyway, I stopped in the Carvin store last and saw one of the new Icon models hanging from the wall and asked to plug it in. (It basically looked like the one on the web site.) I tweaked the knobs a bit, adjusted the tone and this thing began to smoke. The open strings were very focused with a tight piano like tone, all fretted notes sang very evenly up and down the fretboard, and the playability was just about perfect. I've snubbed my nose for awhile at Carvin but was very impressed.

    The build quality was flawless. The nicely contoured body was very light, thin, on the small side, and very comfortable while playing. While sitting, it balanced perfectly without any diving or sliding. And the neck just plain ol' rocked. I'm not sure if this neck and FB radius is spec'd on all Carvin's but on this instrument it was perfect. The neck was the most comfortable I've played, with just enough flatness on the FB and just enough roundness on the neck itself. Beautiful. The finish was very nice and the fretwork was very good- not quite as refined as the fretwork on the Lakland JO but still very good.

    It's tones ranged from very modern (as expected) to somewhat vintagey. The PU's sounded great together or soloed. It kinda reminded me of a Ken Smith/Peavey Cirrus/modern J type tone all mixed in. The electronics seemed much improved over Carvins I have played in the past, well balanced and very responsive. All this is unusual for me b/c I typically am attracted to more traditional types of instruments. I usually don't pay any attention to basses made from exotic woods, etc. But, I may soon have a change of heart.

    I only spent about 10 minutes with the bass and that is what I came up with. Just thought I'd pass the news to anyone who might be interested. And, no, I don't work for Carvin. :)
  2. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    That's a pretty positive review. Thanks for taking the time to post it. It's nice to see Carvin changing it up a little bit.:bassist:
  3. I'd like to try an Icon 6, but the string spacing...
  4. Classical_Thump


    Jan 26, 2005
    what is the string spacing on the icon 6-ers?
  5. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    IIRC, the spacing is adjustable. I don't know the range but I'm pretty sure they use a Hipshot bridge with adjustable spacing.

    EDIT: Yup. Adjustable. The given figure is 3.20" at the bridge for the ICON 6.

    They have this bridge:

    Scroll down almost halfway to see the bridge.
  6. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    Cool... I went to GC Hollywood yesterday, but didn'g get a chance to hit up carvin.
  7. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    GC is/was a nightmare. It's really just a larger version of my local GC, not very interesting at all. I get so tired of walking through the bass section at GC and being asked the standard GC sales rep questions, "What's up, Bro? What kinda bass you playing now?"

    I usually reply with telling them something like, "Well, I have 4 Foderas, 2 Ritters, 3 Ken Lawerence's and 5 Ken Smith's." Just because I know they have no idea what the hell I'm talking about.

  8. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    The 3.2" at the bridge is relatively narrow, and the same as the LB/BB/XB series because they share the same bridge hardware.

    Whether this is an issue is a personal matter. For people with smaller hands it's probably a plus. I have medium-large hands and I didn't have any trouble playing one fingerstyle. But if I were a slapper I'd think twice about a Carvin 6.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    A bass playin' buddy of mine buys nothing but Carvins. He's a lefty and buys lefty basses, so I can't speak to the quality personally, but he's a good player and his opinion means a lot to me.

    Oh yeah: he's getting the very first left-handed Icon. I'm looking forward to checking that out (having *him* do so, actually. ;) )
  10. Ditto for amps - Eden? Never heard of them. But check out this Behringer...

    Sorry for the hijack - so back to the topic. I'm wondering if you could put a hipshot on this - the neck looks like it's made for narrow string spacing - or is that something that would have to be ordered/modified through their custom shop too? And then, are you paying what you'd pay for something custom-made by one of our talented independent luthiers?
  11. Thanks for the comment - you've just answered a huge question for me (but now I have to spend lots more money).
  12. TK65


    Jan 16, 2003
    I actually placed the very *first* Icon order. It won't be the first one made, since Carvin made some for NAMM and as prototypes, but mine is the first "official" one. Woot! It's going to be Deep Triple-Step purple on flamed maple, maple body and neck, birdseye maple fingerboard and black hardware. I'm really excited about it - being a long-time Carvin player, having a new body shape and new electronics is pretty cool. Only about 2-3 weeks to wait!

    And if you're not familiar with my Carvin basses, check 'em out on the Carvin Museum (

    And, of course, any opportunity to show off my latest - it's a BB70EP (Elite) model, finished in Dragonburst on quilt. Best. Bass. Ever.



    Oh, I also just received one of the new Carvin Cobalt acoustic basses. Great instrument - sounds great, and plays really, really well.
  13. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    sounds hawt
  14. gaffster


    Jan 20, 2006
    mahi mahi.. port bow...
    carribean blue/nautical
    only missin a rum swizzle:hyper:
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I was going to say that the dragon burst Carvin is hawt, but I stand corrected: it's coooool! :p